RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Some families in Amelia County have no way out after this week’s heavy rains forced the only road out of their neighborhood to cave in.
There’s a gaping hole on Patten Lane near Genito Road. Perhaps the only thing that can be worse is the county saying there’s nothing that can be done. Imagine your car is parked in your own driveway, but there’s no way out of your neighborhood because the road directly in front of your home has completely given way.
"I've looked down so much in there, I'm sick of it,” Bill Ford said staring at the huge hole in the road.
For nearly half a dozen families, walking in the shrubbery is the only way to get to and from their homes. The walkway didn't exist before the road buckled in Monday's storms.
"It’s probably maybe a 10-foot drop,” neighbor Xavier Pedro said.
He was toting groceries because there's no way to drive to his home.
"It's pretty crazy. It's a disaster. It's kind of hard to get out of here for work and stuff,” Pedro added.
That's not the only issue.
If there is a need for an ambulance or fire truck to come into the neighborhood, there is no route for it to enter.
“That is correct. Our agencies are working to make sure those folks are taken care of as they should be," Amelia Emergency Management Coordinator B. Kent Emerson said. “It’s not an issue where we can say ‘we’re going to go in and replace it’. That’s not what the county can do.”
That’s because Patten Lane is a private road. The state doesn’t own it.
"Each lot owns half of the road from each side,” Ford said.
Ford is one of the owners and said 15 families live in the area. He said two years ago a private road was fixed nearby to the tune of $10,000. If the road is to be repaired, the homeowners will have to find that money themselves.
The washed out road continues to collapse even more. With more rain, the road will only get worse and worse.
County leaders say although this problem is not their responsibility, they still want to work with homeowners to find a solution.
Help is on the way from volunteers like Stephen Hatcher and Winston Marsden, bringing a team effort to tackle the problem.
“I told them I’ve done a lot culverts and repaired a lot of stuff. I will say this is probably the biggest one I have done as far as this much damage." Hatcher said.
The work will require laying an underground pipe, gravel and dirt. An excavator and the labor are being donated.
It’s all in an effort to make the road home a little easier for those who live in the area.
“I’m a firm believer that things like this when people can’t do nothing, you’re supposed to come out here and start giving," Hatcher said.
The work is scheduled to begin Thursday.